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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian: Newspaper Records  by Ryan Taylor, revised by Susanna de Groot, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).


The one place where all of these publications are indexed is in the Periodical Source Index (always referred to as PERSI), which is compiled by the Allen County Public Library’s Historical Genealogy Department in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is made available online by and Heritage Quest . The online version is fee-based, but PERSI can be used free of charge on site at ACPL.

It may seem odd that these Canadian periodicals are indexed in an American library, but ACPL has a very large collection of more than 7000 periodical titles encompassing genealogical and historical materials from around the world, but concentrating on the United States and Canada. It has attempted to obtain publications from all the known genealogical and historical societies, including back issues from the beginning of the publication.

PERSI is a keyword index. It classifies articles first by type (family, locality, methodology) and then indicates by a general keyword what the article is about. Researchers can look for articles in several different ways. It should be said that this is not an every-name index, but what used to be referred to (in the early days of online searching) as a ‘quick and dirty’ index. It is created using only a brief entry and materials may be missed, or coded in a way that makes some aspect of the article unreachable. Thus, it does not take the place of a thorough search of titles which may contain a great deal of information about your family. PERSI can still be useful in locating articles which appear in unexpected publications.

PERSI was first published in book form, and these volumes can still be found in many Canadian libraries, but searching in them is cumbersome compared with the online or CD-ROM formats.

PERSI provides only a code indicating where the article can be located. It is then up to the genealogist to locate the periodical. They may do this at a local library, or by searching for it when they visit a large genealogical library. All the articles listed in PERSI are also available in photocopied form through the mail from the Allen County Public Library.


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Newspaper Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.